Thomas Billhardt was born on May 2, 1937 in Chemnitz, he is one of the most acclimed German photographer and publicist. He became especially famous in the GDR for his photographs from Vietnam, Palestine and Nicaragua.
Thomas Billhardt was trained as a photographer by his mother Maria Schmid-Billhardt from 1951 to 1954 and studied until 1957 at the Fachschule für angewandte Kunst in Magdeburg. As a factory photographer in the brown coal mine construction and the Brikettfabrik Grosskayna 1957-58, he qualified as a Fotomeister and was until 1959 publishing house at the postcard publishing house Bild und Heimat in Reichenbach in the Vogtland.
From 1959 to 1963 he graduated from the University of Graphics and Book Design (HGB) in Leipzig, graduating as a graduate photographer.
In 1962 he became a member of the Association of German Journalists and worked as a freelance photographer from 1963 to 1971. In 1968, he joined the SED. From 1972 to 1981 he was working group leader at the Deutsche Werbeagentur (DEWAG) in Berlin and from 1982 to 1989 head of the studio Billhardt at the publishing house for agitation and visual media.
Billhardt has been a member of the German Association of Journalists since 1989 and since 1990 until 2001 he has been a member of the German Society for Photography. Since 1990 he is also a member of the Federal Freelance Photo-Designer e.v.
In 1965, Billhardt received the Erich Weinert Medal, the art prize of the FDJ.
In 1969 he received the art prize of the GDR, 1987 the national price of the GDR. He has had numerous international photo exhibitions in London, Moscow, Berlin-West, Beirut, Kiev, Krakow, Stettin, Breslau, Hanoi, Santiago de Chile, Valparaiso, Florence, Salzburg, Paris, Prague, Wittlich. The UNICEF exhibition “Children of the World” in New York 1988.
In April 2005 he traveled to UNICEF Phillipines and from April 2008 to November 2008 he worked for UNICEF projects in Indonesia, Cambodia and China.
Thomas Billhardt sees himself as an artistic and political photographer. His archive until 1999 is owned by Camera Work Gallery Berlin.
Thomas Billhardt is married and has two children. His son Steffen Billhardt is also active as a photographer internationally.